The 13 Best Horror Podcasts to Make You Afraid of the Dark
In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve summoned from the shadows thirteen of the best horror podcasts. Grab some candy from that pre-Halloween trick or treaters stash (#nojudgment), turn down the lights, heat up that mug of hot cocoa, tea, or cider, and plug in your best set of earbuds or stereo system. It’s time to crank up the fear factor.
It’s October, the mecca of all months for Halloween fanatics, paranormal geeks, and horror enthusiasts. Many of us start our ghoulishly fun festivities on the very first day and don’t stop until long after the end of October 31st.
Plastic skeletons and grim reapers haunt front yards, pumpkin spice flavors everything from doughnuts to dog chow. Walking the uneven, overgrown paths of that ancient cemetery in your town, the one with the cracked tombstones, crooked statues, and a vast quiet emptiness that’s only broken by the raspy crunch and skitter of fallen leaves across the stone path, has never felt more tantalizingly terrifying.
What could make that experience better than listening to these 13 best horror podcasts?
With every October comes a new season of Spooked. For the past three years, Glynn Washington, the grandson of a seer, has hosted this ghostly podcast. No stranger to the darkness that dwells on this dimension (and all the ones… between…), Washington and every guest star on Spooked shares that there are far more frightening things than just shadow people and things that go bump in the night.
Featuring first-person accounts of brushes with the occult, near-death experiences, and the phantom children who lurk in the dense woods in a remote Irish village (special shout out to the episode A Friend In the Forest!), Spooked is a must-listen for Halloween.
Washington’s theatrical and terrifying narration bookends every episode. The swells of atmospheric music and well-timed sound effects are expertly embedded into the audio. Whether the tales on Spooked are indeed nonfiction, or if they’re just purely for entertainment (no shade to y’all skeptics!), Spooked is a seriously next-level horror podcast more than worth bingeing.
2. The Black Tapes
Listen to it on: The Black Tapes website, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher
Created By: Paul Bae and Terry Miles
Unlike many of the other spooky podcasts on this list, The Black Tapes isn’t a podcast based in reality. It’s a fictional docudrama that plays about as convincingly as Orson Welles’s impromptu War of the Worlds’ broadcast in 1938. That is to say, it’s convincingly, chillingly, real sounding.
Described as “Serial meets Creepypasta,” The Black Tapes follows a curious reporter named Alex Reagan whose new podcast profiling fascinating people takes a drastic turn after she meets the mysterious Dr. Richard Strand.
Arrogant, stubborn, and skeptical, Dr. Strand not only made a career out of debunking the paranormal but is famous for promising a million dollars to whoever can offer him proof that ghosts exist.
What starts as a simple, straightforward profile on Strand soon becomes a winding, tangled tale of dark secrets, lies, and betrayal. Phenomenal production value, sound effects, voice acting, and a compelling, pulse-pounding script make The Black Tapes one of the most extraordinary (and addictive) works of fiction in the podcast world.
3. Astonishing Legends
Listen to it on: Astonishing Legends website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher
Hosts: Scott Philbrook and Forrest Burgess
Paranormal skeptics and believers alike will find much to love about Astonishing Legends. Well-researched and brimming with witty banter, Astonishing Legends probes deeply into human nature, history, and all its horrors.
The hosts, Forrest and Scott, engage in intelligent dialogue in every episode as they explore the supernatural, legends, and lore. Eerie and eclectic, Astonishing Legends explores everything from haunted asylums, cryptids like the Mothman, and the ominous phenomenon of Black-Eyed Kids.
Episodes tend to clock in at over an hour, and, with the multi-part format Scott and Forrest are so fond of, it’s not uncommon for them to exceed 3. Not quite sold yet? Well, think of Astonishing Legends as a wizard or witch firmly seated at the Ravenclaw house table in the Great Hall during the Hogwarts Halloween feast.
Unafraid to push boundaries, Astonishing Legends doesn’t box itself into any particular brand of horror. Its originality, boldness, and attention to detail enhance what is already a wildly intriguing, unsettling, and spooky podcast.
4. Jim Harold’s Campfire
Listen to it on: Jim Harold’s website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher
Host: Jim Harold
Created over a decade ago in 2009, Jim Harold’s Campfire is one of the most iconic paranormal podcasts and a rite of passage for anyone first delving into the world of ghost story podcasts.
Ever been outside in the dead of night settled around a crackling campfire telling terrifying tales of ghostly happenings and creatures while the black, starless sky looms above? Jim Harold’s Campfire is the next best thing!
Every week, listeners phone in to recount some of the most haunting experiences of their lives. Just like gathering around a real midnight campfire, listeners never quite know what they’ll get when they tune in.
Whether it’s whispers coming from inside the walls, a deranged dog-like creature terrorizing drivers when darkness falls, or a doll seemingly possessed by a vengeful entity, Jim Harold’s Campfire has it all.
The best thing about this ghost story podcast is just how many stories are told in each episode. A knack for storytelling, though, isn’t always a requirement for folks who phone into the Campfire, so if you’re not engaged by one listener story, skip forward to the next.
With over 390 episodes, the edge of your seat chills and thrills are no scarcity in this ghostly good time of a podcast.
Writer, producer, and armchair historian Aaron Mahnke launched his podcast Lore in 2015. Since then, the tightly structured, thoroughly researched, and compellingly told stories in Lore have gone on to win over millions of listeners, nab acclaimed podcast awards, and even spawned an Amazon original series and a trio of novels.
In every episode, Aaron enchants listeners with stories about otherworldly places, people, and objects. Minimal advertisements and no rambling side conversations keep Lore listeners fully engaged in the real-life horrors and mysteries that shook us to our very core throughout history.
Although Lore is entirely nonfiction, Aaron is a creative and gifted narrator with a knack for infusing the stories he shares with poetic flair. The episodes ranging from everything from trickster folklore, the horrors of lobotomies in early asylums, and even the infamous serial killer H.H. Holmes “Murder Castle,” are easy to get hooked on. Guided by Aaron’s enthralling and eerie narration, Lore is one of the best horror podcasts – unforgettable and bingeable.
6. The No Sleep Podcast
Listen to it on: The No Sleep Podcast website, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify
Showrunner: David Cummings
For a whopping 13 seasons and over 300 episodes, The No Sleep Podcast has been inducing nightmares and striking fear into the hearts of its listeners. A multi-award-winning anthology, The No Sleep Podcast serves up unsettling, surreal, and sometimes downright terrifying tales.
Forgoing a single host, an assortment of charismatic narrators and talented voice actors breathe life into the goosebump-inducing accounts, many of them (fictional) first-hand ones.
Combined with the remarkably detailed and original creative storytelling and sleek production design, The No Sleep Podcast is an amazing and scary as hell horror podcast. It can seem a bit daunting to start listening to The No Sleep Podcast because of its sheer size, but fortunately, there’s a handy guide on NSP’s website with recommendations for where to begin!
Some of TNSP’s standout episodes for us? Dogs in the Drywall, Soft White Damn, and the Odd Kids! Grab a blanket to huddle under for these haunting stories!
An all-ages podcast focused on supernatural myths, legends, and lore, Unspookable playfully and inquisitively explores the history and significance behind fantastical creatures like fairies, freaky objects like the ouija board and so much more.
Creator and host Elise Parisian probes the origins of some of the most notorious superstitions, folklore, and creatures in an accessible, conversational way. The podcast’s pilot episode, Bloody Mary, might lead you to binge-listening to all thirteen episodes!
Could Bloody Mary be Mary Tudor? Or accused witch Mary Worth? What do mirrors have to do with the summoning rituals behind the Bloody Mary chant? And how about the significance of the candles?
In Unspookable, Elise encourages children and teens to question that. To listen, learn, and start their discussions about cryptids like Sasquatch, internet challenges like the Charlie Charlie game, and yes, the spirit in the bathroom mirror herself– Bloody Mary.
In this PG horror podcast, each episode is less than 30 minutes with just 13 in total, making this one of the best horror podcasts for listeners who are new to podcasts and folks who have a craving for their horror to be served up with a generous helping of history.
8. The Wrong Station
Listen to it on: The Wrong Station website, Apple Podcasts
Hosts + Writers: Alexander Saxton, Anthony Botelho, Jacob Duarte Spiel
Fans of The No Sleep Podcast will go batty for The Wrong Station! Everything from its hair-raising opening theme, to its magnetizing narrators and macabre storytelling, make this a can’t-be-missed horror and pre and post Halloween podcast.
An anthology in the vein of TNSP, The Wrong Station delivers an abundance of gripping and enticingly grim and dark short stories. Think: crows plucking out eyes to nom on, shadow figures materializing away in a blink, and a young Irish woman’s run-in with an otherworldly Fae all appear in episodes of this uber bingeable podcast.
9. Knock Once For Yes
In Knock Once For Yes, British couple and paranormal enthusiasts Lil and Fitz take listeners on a journey through the extremely haunted medieval Warwick Castle, Naseby battlefields, the notorious Hell Fire Caves of West Wycombe, and so many more ominous locales in England.
This nonfiction and often historically textured horror podcast combines the couples’ first-hand accounts of exploring creepy and often haunted locations with spooky listener stories, and lively interviews with researchers, historians, and other people immersed in the paranormal.
Brew up a cup of tea, find a cozy porch, and settle in for a fascinating journey to a historically haunted site in this low-key horror podcast.
Tanis, a sci-fi horror docudrama follows podcast producer Nic Silver as he immerses himself in unraveling the mystery and myth of something known merely as Tanis. Inspired by an interview with a Tanis believer and the short story “Where Is Tanis?” written by a rocket scientist and occult leader Jack Parsons, Nic willingly hurls himself down the Tanis rabbit hole.
Where is Tanis? Maybe a better question is, what is Tanis? A god? A mythical city? The key to immortality? Hell itself? Whatever it is, Tanis is a multifaceted, ever-changing mysterious force that has been around, seemingly, since the beginning of time.
A spin-off of The Black Tapes, Tanis takes a sci-fi horror approach to storytelling as Nic dabbles in the deep web and immerses himself in conspiracy theories, dangerous secret societies, and the Cult of Tanis. The storytelling, voice acting, and elaborate plot make Tanis one of the most riveting sci-fi horror podcasts floating around our airwaves.
Aaron Mahnke strikes again with another extraordinarily eerie and compulsively listenable horror podcast. Much like Mahnke’s Lore, Unobscured also takes a historical tack to tell its haunting tales. Unobscured’s first season unpacks the terror, torture, and trauma of one of the most infamous real-life horror stories: the Salem Witch Trials.
Over 20 innocent lives were lost in that one short year, and the darkness of that cruel and tragic time and all of the unrestrained cruelty neighbor unleashed upon neighbor, has left a pitch-black stain in history.
Accompanied by some of the most prestigious historians today, diaries, letters, and other invaluable writing straight from the hands of the accusers and the accused, Mahnke paints a bone-chilling picture of the mass hysteria and violence that tore apart a community in what was once a quiet and quaint New England town from 1692 to 1693.
12. Darkest Night
Featuring such talents as Lee Pace (The Hobbit trilogy), Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story), and drag queen RuPaul, this ghoulish gem comes from the NoSleep collective.
Darkest Night is a delightfully disturbing horror podcast that is as perfect to pair with Halloween as carved jack o’ lanterns and classic slasher films. Set in the fictional Roth-Lobdow Center For Advanced Research, season one of Darkest Night follows Katie Reed, a young lab assistant new to the nightmarish Project Cyclops.
Helmed by a soon-to-retire researcher Dr. John Kinsler, Project Cyclops enables scientists to experience the final memories of the recently deceased. The catch? Stabbing a needle into the eye of said recently deceased persons’ severed head and draining the blood out of it is the only way to do it.
Sinister scientists, body horror, and plenty of whispering your jam? Bloody, gory, anxiety-inducing Darkest Night is your horror OTPodcast. Don’t come crying to us, though, when you inevitably wake up in the middle of the night with a scream tearing out of your throat.
13. Welcome to Night Vale
Listen to it on: Welcome to Night Vale website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher
Host: Cecil Baldwin
The fictional radio broadcast Welcome to Night Vale transports listeners to Night Vale, a small and remote desert town riddled with odd happenings and unusual sightings. In the spirit of Stephen King, Orson Welles, and H.P. Lovecraft Welcome to Night Vale takes the surreal and sinister and seamlessly stitches it into the fabric of the ordinary world.
Live cats are suspended in the air by unseen forces, an amnesia-inducing man in a tan jacket patrols the town, and thousands of slimy, squirmy worms emerge without warning.
Extraterrestrial creatures, bizarre weather patterns, and conspiracy theories all run amok in Night Vale, where nothing is quite as it seems. With over 155 episodes, this twice-monthly horror podcast is enough to scratch any horror junkies itch.
So geeky friends, are you fans of any of these 13 best horror podcasts?
Are there other shows you’d include in our round-up? Which podcasts are your favorite to listen to during the Halloween season? Tweet us or leave a comment below, and let’s chat!
Hiya, my name is Vicky and I’m your friendly neighborhood Marvel-loving, Studio Ghibli-obsessed, Queer Potterhead.
I may be in my mid-twenties but I’ve been an enthusiastic Potterhead for over a decade. I can’t go a day without firing off at least half a dozen Harry Potter references and have a small museum of Potter and Wizarding World merch… one with FAR too many Funkos.
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